The New Zealand Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) will ban the use of per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) in cosmetic products starting in 2027. This will make the country one of the first in the world to take this step on PFAS to protect people and the environment.

PFAS are sometimes used in products such as nail polish, shaving cream, foundation, lipstick and mascara. They are added to smooth the skin, or to make cosmetic products more durable, spreadable and water resistant. In the announcement on 30 January, the EPA said that although research suggests that PFAS are only found in a small number of products it was taking a ‘precautionary approach’ to the potential risks.

‘Banning these chemicals in cosmetics is part of our ongoing response, which includes phasing out all PFAS-firefighting foams and testing for background levels of PFAS in the New Zealand environment,’ said Shaun Presow, hazardous substances reassessments manager at the EPA.

The decision on PFAS is one of a number of updates that have been made to the Cosmetic Products Group Standard, to ensure cosmetic products are safe.